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Top Sellers by Platform / Multiplatform & HW Trends for Jan-Sept 11' - News

by VGChartz Staff , posted on 09 October 2011 / 6,756 Views

Hardware sales data, along with full software sales data is now available for the first nine months of 2011 in the VGChartz sales database. Both types of data are discussed within, and each set of data is slightly depressing.

Hardware sales for the first nine months of 2011 dropped from the same period in 2010 nearly across the board no matter how you slice the data - even with the absolute figure for total hardware, 36.37m, still historically strong compared to any year before 2005.

HW Sales Q1 - Q3 2011

13m fewer non-3DS systems sold than last year!

Excluding the newly released 3DS, hardware sales dropped nearly 30% globally through September. Roughly speaking DS dropped 5.6m, accounting for much of the drop in absolute terms. Wii dropped a little less than 3m, with X360 and PS3 also down nearly 1m each year to date. Not a single system released before 3DS is up year to date, although some systems are down only slightly in a couple regions. The biggest change in 2010 vs. 2011 so far is that PS3 has replaced DS as the strongest performer. This may be a one year deal however, as 3DS has sold at nearly the level of the PS3 in what could be its best year in its first year on the market. Nintendo has also defended its portable market better than is typically understood - DS + 3DS sales to date in 2011 are nearly identical (11.4m) to DS sales in 2010 (11.5m) over the same period suggesting the DS market is migrating to 3DS.

The Japanese market is the one enjoying the healthiest hardware sales to date. In a couple of weeks hardware sales will overtake the 2010 pace. By year end, hardware sales could be up 3-10% in Japan from levels seen in 2010 - it will largely depend on how many Vitas are shipped to the market.

Japanese HW YTD

The Japanese hardware market in 2011 is down less than 2% on a unit basis as Nintendo's portable market has expanded fast enough to offset nearly all other declines. With PS3 and PSP likely to combine for similar sales to 2010, the market is clearly going to be up as 3DS, Wii, PS3, PSP, DS and Vita will each have solid to excellent numbers in late November and December. Japan is also the market where the DS to 3DS transition has been the smoothest. There would be real issues if that transition had gone less well, as the entire Japanese hardware market, excluding 3DS, declined nearly 36% from 2010 in the first nine months of 2011, which is a much steeper decline than in the other regional markets and also a faster decline tha in the global market. The rate of decline for the original DS also suggests this is its last important year for hardware, although with a 33m base the system will remain decent for software sales for another 18 months to two years. Even with the DS decline, 3DS + DS have combined to outpace what the DS did in 2010 by about 600,000 units, so it will be interesting to see how much of the original DS base the 3DS ends up claiming.

In the Americas, the DS to 3DS transition is happening much slower than in Japan, and X360 replaces PSP / PS3 as the system(s) declining slowly.

Americas Transition

In the Americas 3DS + DS sales are slightly down from DS sales in 2010. With X360 and PS3 down a bit from 2010 pacing and all other systems dropping fairly quickly, the Americas hardware market is going to be down 10-20% from 2010. The holiday season should be fun to watch in the US and Canada, as Kinect sales globally were only 340,000 units in the past quarter. There is a distinct possibility of Wii and X360 selling anywhere from 1.5m - 3.0m units in December - it will really depend on whether the dance games peaked in 2010 or are set to peak in 2011. If Zumba and Just Dance 3 each sell 5-10 million copies in November and December though, as the genre reaches a glorious and brief peak all bets are off on how high Wii and X360 can go from their current levels. Unlike Japan though, 2012 also looks like a bad year in the Americas, as Wii U, Vita and 3DS will probably not be able to offset growing declines for X360, PS3, Wii, and DS particularly with PS2 and PSP still declining quickly too.

EMEAA as a region has been even slower to react to 3DS than the Americas, but the region is also continuing its love affair with motion-controlled consoles a bit longer than the Americas:

EMEAA HW Declines

Hardware sales are down 23% in EMEAA even with the 3DS launch included. Excluding 3DS from the totals, hardware sales in EMEAA are down nearly as much as in Japan. As with the US market, Europe is not getting Vita in 2011, and so yearly hardware sales should decline quite 20-30% from 2010 levels. Like the Americas, EMEAA does have one system declining substantially slower than the rest - PS3 in this case. With all hardware released before 2011 likely to decline again in 2012 EMEAA should see another down year for hardware in 2012 too, just like the Americas.

Much of the reason hardware is declining so quickly this year can be traced to software. Nine months in to the year, and across all platform only 15 games have topped even two million units. All figures are listed in millions. I've included sales from January to June 2011 under 'H1 2011 Sales' for an easy look at quarterly figures.

Top 20 Multiplat Games of Jan - Sept 2011

The reason to watch the dance games over Christmas is simple: five of the top 20 Wii games year to date are dance titles. Dance Central, one of the top X360 titles for the year is also getting a sequel. Moreover, for as large as the genre is, there isn't much competition yet. The dance genre is actually so big right now that Wii ended up with more third party games over 2m units year to date than any other platform which definitely surprised me. Figures once again are in millions of units.

Biggest Wii Hits of Jan-Sept 2011

The Wii market remains pretty horrible for publishers based in Japan - no games made by Japanese publishers have topped 500,000 units this year yet on what is still a fairly active and almost 90m unit base globally. Of late the companies benefiting most from Wii appear to be mid-sized Western publishers particularly Ubisoft, Disney, Majesco, and Lucas Arts, which each continue to see new and old titles produce enormous and constant profit streams. With the dance genre to be reinforced and major titles still coming from Nintendo the Wii is once again on very solid footing for another strong holiday season for software (Zumba + Zelda + JD3 might be 20m alone by Dec 31 alone, 15m easy), and only a modest decline for hardware. On a smaller base, Just Dance 2 sold almost 5m in less than three months on Wii, roughly twice as fast as Just Dance 1. The trajectory of the third game across all three platforms should be fascinating to watch, although I lean towards a 60-30-10 split between Wii, X360, PS3 globally.

The DS in contrast to Wii, looks almost completely out of steam now that 3DS has attained solid footing. Top ten titles on the DS, which in theory has nearly 150m users, are selling well less than 1m units as disinterest in the platform continues to rapidly accelerate.

Top 20 Games of 2011 YTD for DS

With Wii, 10 games topped 1m units on a sub-90m basis in the first 9 months of 2011. For DS, only ten games topped 400,000 units on a base 60% larger. From that data you can argue that the Wii base is actually four times as active in buying games as the DS base ((150m / 90m) * (1m / 0.4m)). Given that the average Wii user will buy just over one game in 2011, the DS is definitely on it's last legs as a relevant global software market. The good news here is that some of the DS 'super games', the games that made DS into the DS we know today are about to move to 3DS. Mario Kart in particular has topped 50m units (!) between Wii and DS, and the series will be coming to 3DS as the first new game in the series in three years. Mario Kart DS might actually be the best thing that has happened to Nintendo in the generation, as the series now appears to have 20m+ dedicated fans. Brain Training, and the Wii ___ line of games that helped sell DS and Wii simply may not be sustainable huge series in the same way that Mario Kart will be in the coming years.

The 3DS top twenty already cuts off at about 40% the level of DS top twenty, which is another way to suggest that DS may be down to 14-15m active game purchasers.

Top 20 3DS Games YTD 2011

Of the three Nintendo systems, 3DS is currently getting the best support from Japanese publishers, who have half of the top 20 hits for the system so far. Western publishers in contrast are still doing rather poorly on 3DS, with all western games under 300,000 units even as the base is rapidly entering 'large' territory in Western regions. Street Fighter will probably become the first third party game to sell through a million units on the 3DS sometime later this year when 3DS experiences its first weeks of being consistently above 500,000 units. Mario Kart 7 should easily end up being the top 3DS game of the year, with Super Mario Land 3D performing quite well too. A couple surprise hits may break out though - Pokemon Scramble is selling similarly to the WiiWare game that it is based on and so Frogger may follow a similar pattern as its been amongst the biggest WiiWare titles each month for ages now. Shinobi and some of the smaller fighter games could easily pick up over Christmas as well on the sheer hardware volume that is coming. Monster Hunter and other Japanese centric content is certainly going to be enormous relative to the size of that market in the coming months.

In contrast to Nintendo's platforms, Sony's PS3 is dominated by traditional fare made by Western publishers like sports and shooting titles.

Top 20 PS3 Games YTD 2011

Fifa Soccer 12 may actually briefly become the top PS3 game of the year as the titles above it are now selling relatively paltry amounts compared to how Fifa will sell over the next few weeks. Batman, Call of Duty, and a few others will probably end up above Fifa in the final tally for the year. The most dissapointing data point in the figures above is Sports Champions, which is a pretty good indicator of how well Move is performing. Sports Champions will probably rise quite a bit over November and December, but its hard to imagine the title selling more than 2m units this year, which is a pretty bad figure for a partially bundled game. Take Two, EA and Activision look like the major winners on PS3 this year, GTA, Red Dead, L.A. Noire, NBA 2k11 and NBA 2k12 all look like winners for Take Two this year, virtually EA's entire catalogue does well on PS3 now, and Call of Duty should be as big as 2010 or slightly bigger this year.

The X360 top twenty looks similar to PS3, with a small helping of big Kinect games replacing Japanese published hits.

Top X360 Games YTD 2011

Kinect games comprise three games of the top twenty for X360 so far. With Kinect penetration of about 20% of the X360 base that is a somewhat low figure but it's not terrible. That said, the trend with Kinect is now: 8m in Nov-Dec 2010 (4m per month), 2m in January-February 2011 (1m per month), 400,000 in March 2011 by Microsoft's figures, followed by 730,000 in April-June 2011 (243,000 per month) by VGC data, and then 340,000 in July to September by VGC data (113,000 per month). Ignoring the holiday launch, Kinect Adventures which is bundled with all Kinects, standalone or bundled with X360, went from selling 1 million per month to selling 113,000 per month in the span of 9 months. That is a pretty bad trendline, so it will be interesting to see how high Kinect gets over Christmas 2011.

Excluding Kinect, X360 remains a slightly better core market than PS3, with nine million-sellers to date. The same caveat applies though, most of the big hits are from a couple of big Western third parties and the platform creator. The top 20 for X360 probably won't change too much, although several recently released games will continue to climb. Call of Duty, Batman, Kinect Sports 2, Dance Central 2, and Just Dance 3 should all perform pretty well over Christmas. I'd wager core software will decline overall on X360 this year due mainly to the age of the system, but overall X360 software (including Kinect) will never be better than the coming holiday quarter.

Sony's PSP continues to remain nearly irrelevant outside Japan. Even in Japan though, software sales are now steadily weakening as 3DS takes off and hype for Vita builds.

Top 20 PSP Games YTD 2011

A grand total of one Western published PSP game has cracked the top 20 year to date. That means on a 50m+ non Japanese base, very comparable to X360 & PS3, only one Western published game has sold even 190,000 units. This is why PSP has about five games coming out in the USA over the rest of 2011 - the market is no longer there. In Japan though, PSP games routinely still sell over 200,000 units which is a profitable level. Once again, compared to the 3DS the PSP top 20 cuts off at a level only 60% higher which implies around 8 million active software purchasers out of about 70 million people who bought a PSP. Vita is arriving just in time, as the PSP base of active users should shrink even further if 3DS and Vita both rapidly become popular in Japan during 2012. Odds look fairly decent of both Vita and 3DS performing well in Japan during 2012 so this could very well be the last year a PSP game tops 500,000 units in a single year. Konami tends to stay on Sony platforms as long as possible to keep offering sports titles to its customers, so look for games like Pro Yakyuu and Pro Evolution to be in better ranked positions next year as the overall market will shrink while their figures remain fairly steady.

Contact VGChartz at jmazel@vgchartz.com


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4 Comments
pezus (on 10 October 2011)

Batman will not be bigger than Fifa this year (on the PS3), I can promise you that.

  • +3
chris212223 pezus (on 10 October 2011)

Lol that's the EXACT same thing i was thinking.

  • 0
09tarheel (on 11 October 2011)

Just wanted to say great job with the article. I love these kind of features and would like to see more of them.

  • +1
zuvuyeay (on 12 October 2011)

yes nice article good to see the info,i thought kinect sports had done more like 3m ltd though

  • 0